21 Signs You Grew Up In The 90s

*Disclaimer: This post may make you feel old. Possible symptoms include: nostalgia, random bursts of laughter and tears and longing to go back to the much simpler times of the 1990s. 

As a Gen Yer, I’m very aware that I was part of the first generation to grow up with the Internet and cell phones. But, I can’t help but think about all the things that I grew up with that Gen Z (for this post, that’s anyone under the age of 18) and future generations won’t know about. So, here’s my somewhat nostalgic list of all the things people who grew up in the 90s know how to do that is now obsolete.

1. How to save a file on a Floppy Disc

2. The Dewey Decimal System

3. Dial-Up Internet

4. When AOL used to be the shit

5. How to record something on a VHS tape

6. When all you could do on a cellular phone was talk

7. The point of a pager/beeper

8. Walkmans

9. How to place a collect call

10. How to find your way using only a map and no GPS

11. Where in the world is Carmen Santiago?

12. How to get a Furby or Tamagotchi to shut up?

13. How to write in cursive

14. How to do the macarena

15. Just how awesome the original Double Dare and Legends of Hidden Temple shows were (Oh wait, just how awesome 90s Nick shows were in general).

16. How awesome and frightening AOL Chatrooms were

17. The secrets to collecting the best Beanie Babies and POGs

18. How to entertain yourself without Youtube videos (oh wait, the Internet in general)

19. The thrill of using napster

20. How to send a fax

21. How to survive high school without Facebook.

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  1. Caryn October 29, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    Love this! And I still think 1990 was about 10 years ago. I don’t get how it is already almost 2012.  Btw – I believe it is “where in the world is carmen san diego?”  not santiago. 


    • Anonymous October 30, 2011 at 12:55 am #

      Thanks for the correction, Caryn. I’m with you 100%. I love the 90s (as evidence from this post) and it does seem like it was only yesterday. 


  2. brocantehome21 November 1, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Oh heck I’m sooooo old.


  3. JMattHicks November 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    “19. The thrill of using napster”

    OH. SNAP. I’ll never forget that. I was HOOKED after my first download (which was Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Really Matter” from the Nutty Professor soundtrack). Good ‘ol days!

    Pumped you’re on Livefyre 🙂


    • jessicamalnik November 2, 2011 at 1:25 am #

      @JMattHicks Thanks, Jeremy! I’m so glad I finally switched from Disqus to Livefyre. I definitely agree that Napster was amazing while it lasted. Brings back lots of middle and high school memories. 🙂


  4. TrevzBayack November 12, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Lol, great article. Floppy disc. pagers, not having the internet, what memories! How about – #22. When the Real World was relevant TV viewing.


    • jessicamalnik November 13, 2011 at 6:40 am #

      @TrevzBayack Thanks! Great suggestion/addition.


  5. VenkatRao November 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    #22 When MTV actually played music videos!!


  6. eyeskyward November 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Oh no…I remember being at work in those days, which means I am older….My growing up:

    1. You ran your programmes (software) from an 8″ Floppy disk (which was soft)

    2. Your teacher taught you decimal, but you worked in imperial measurement (that is inches)

    3. You wrote programmes on paper and if you did a good job then the teacher put them in the schools computer (if it had one)

    4. America Online (AOL) didn’t exist and everything with a chip in it was cool

    5. VHS and Beta Max were on “Tomorrows World” and a Cinema ticket cost around 80 pence

    6. James Bond and the Saint had a phone in their cars !

    7. Your home and office phone had a dial

    8. You bought Vinyl records that you could play on your Parents record player. If you were really lucky your parents bought a “Ghetto Blaster” and you could tape your favourate “records”

    9. You reversed the charges in an emergency, but otherwise your parents didn’t seem to care what you did as long as you were back in time for dinner.

    10. You knew everywhere to go in a 10 mile radius from your house (no map needed). Except railway lines, farms or building sites, which still give you nightmares today because of the public service films you were forced to watch in school

    11. The posh kid at school knew some spanish words as his parents took him on a luxury holiday in a plane to somewhere called Majorca in Spain

    12. You really wanted an Atari, so you could play computer games at home

    13. You got clipped round the ear, hit by a ruler or flying chalk board eraser if your handwriting was messy

    14. Thursday night was Top of the Pops night and you could see what you should be wearing

    15. The A-Team, but your favourite was Fame

    16. You wrote to ‘pen pals’…If you were really lucky you got a letter and picture back proving your pen pal wasn’t ugly

    17. You made anything that was cool, like Skate boards from your sisters roller skates

    18. You could entertain yourself by being outside

    19. The thrill was in doing something wrong and then running away en masse, knowing full well that you would get it when you got home from your Dad…But he would wink at you and tell you well done from behind Mums back

    20. At senior school you survived by laughing when you got a beating, being cheeky at every opportunity and running lots


    • jessicamalnik November 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

      @eyeskyward Wow, all great additions. #BestDecadeEver


  7. b.nijhoff November 17, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    This really is a great post and reminds me of how great the 90’s were. I wish I could go back to that time. Great post!


  8. 3dmodelsart November 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Haha those good old days! Downloading music from napster with a dial up connection I loved the 90s : D


  9. touch mah tralala January 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    the biggest difference between gen Y and the later is:

    we still remembers floppy disk, SNES, PS1, and the old dial up sound

    and the phrase ‘get off the internet! I want to call someone!’


  10. TrevzBayack January 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    How to scream “Get Off The Phone!”

    …Get it?


    • TrevzBayack January 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      I just realized the previous post says pretty much the same thing. Lol.


      • jessicamalnik January 8, 2012 at 12:55 am #

        @TrevzBayack It’s alright. It’s still funny and very true.


  11. kistnerelizabeth April 29, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Carmen SANDIEGO! >.<


  12. SeanMillon February 6, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    90s…I had a Walkman I’m the 80s :p but yeah…that only makes me feel older.


  13. goodgirl July 6, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    yeah I had a furby . I never had facebook . I still don’t have facebook. It’s too much gossip. yes I had a Walkman and Nick had better shows. which were a lot cooler, so I was born 1985 and grew up in the 90’s. I loved the Spice Girls. I had vhs tapes ugh so annoying I know! Lisa Frank I remember having some Lisa Frank school supplies. I also had a ferret . I think they were popular pets of the 90’s. growing up then we had different ways to intertain ourselves. there was no facebook or texting . I mean come on! it was the 90’s duh.



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